4/30/16 – 5/1/16 California CAM Challenge

This past weekend we competed in the SCCA California CAM Challenge, hosted at Autoclub Speedway, in Fontana, CA. The CAM Challenge is a relatively new event for SCCA autocross, and was our first experience with National-level competition. Saturday consists of a day of in-class competition, with three-run morning and afternoon sessions giving drivers many runs to reach perfection. Best times were combined between the two sessions to establish class rankings and trophies. Sunday starts with a morning session for each class, where the top sixteen of each class are entered into a forty-eight car bracket for shootout racing.

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Saturday started wet and ended dry. The course was fast and a lot of fun. Our morning runs were extremely wet, and traction was just a dream for us on our worn Bridgestone RE-71R’s. Our fastest time came on our third run, with a competitive 66.476, but a cone strike increased our time to a 68.476. For comparison, the fastest time was a 63.684 and the slowest a 87.938. The weather cleared up for our work session, allowing the CAM-T and CAM-S cars to run much faster with the additional grip.

The afternoon was dry with a lot of cloud cover. Angry clouds rolled overhead, but only provided a very light sprinkling at the end of our session. Our second run ended up being our fastest run, with a clean 61.560. Again for comparison, fastest was 58.598, with slowest coming in at 70.061. The dry tarmac really sped up the competition. Total time for us was 130.036, placing us in eight out of seventeen. Our work session was dry with just a bit of drizzle at the end, giving a few Corvettes in CAM-S a slippery final run.

Winning the CAM-C crown for the day was BTM-AutoSport‘s Brett Madsen, taking fastest in both sessions with a total time of 122.282. His Modzilla beat out Greg Nelson’s 2015 Camaro with a 124.319, and Raleigh Boreen’s loud and hard to miss yellow 1998 Mustang Cobra with a 125.140.

In the other classes, twenty-five classics shredded tires in CAM-T, with Mary Pozzi and her 73 Camaro running away with the crown, putting down a fast 117.158 overall, followed up by Mike Trenke in a cool 1982 Four-Eyed Fox Mustang at 119.732, and Jake Rozelle rounding out the podium in his 69 Camaro with a 121.499. CAM-S, hereby known as the Corvette class; was snagged by Steve Abbott in a C5 Z06 with a 116.481, local favorite Tom Kamman in a very similar C5 Z06 with a 118.983, and Randy Gonzalez in a C6 Grand Sport with a 119.274. Sixteen cars competed in CAM-S.

Our fastest runs of Saturday, in video format, below.

Going into Sunday, we started similar to Saturday, but an hour earlier at 8:00 am. We managed to whittle our time down to 61.465. Brett again led the charge with a blazing 57.972, while slowest was  72.211. After CAM-T and CAM-S had their fun, we met at the timing trailer and got the plan for the rest of the day. Each class was placed into a bracket shootout of 16 cars total. Fastest versus slowest, 2nd fastest versus second slowest, and so on. Then, the top of each class went head-to-head, based on their PAX-adjusted time.

We were placed into grid according to our results from the morning, and had two runs to beat our competitor. Once those initial runs were completed, we went to single runs run hot, keeping the tires warm and the competition fierce. We easily advanced to the second round, beating out a 2014 Camaro ZL1 convertible. Our second round, we faced down Chris Darquea in his similarly equipped 2006 Mustang GT. We got unlucky with a cone strike, but so did he. We lost by a hair to his 63.487, versus our 63.504. The rest of the competition was quite exciting, with Brett Madsen taking home first for CAM-C  in the BTM-AutoSport Modzilla, with a 58.259. His PAX time computed to a 49.425, while Steve Abbott took second with a 49.488, and Mike Trenkle rounded out the trio with 50.061.

Our fastest morning run, followed by our CAM Challenge runs, in video, below.

We really enjoyed the format and the level of competition presented by the 2016 SCCA California CAM Challenge. We learned a lot, made a lot of new friends, and are already making plans to up our game for the 2017 Challenge!

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2/14/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

With two damp events, it was time for some typical socal weather, and the third event of the season certainly kept up appearances! Weather was clear and warm, with temperatures in the high-70’s all day.

This event was the first with camber set to “kill” at -3 degrees. We also added in the bolt-in 4-point cage along with 4-point harnesses, to help us stay put in the stock seats. The course was fast and rewarded patient driving, resulting in a lot of muscle cars getting sideways. Our favorite! We enjoyed the course but had issues sorting out the back third, where a choose-your-own slalom kept throwing us off our game.

Entries for CAM-C consisted of a co-driven 2001 Roush Mustang (featuring Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport), a 2006 Mustang GT (with a brand new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R’s), and a 2013 Camaro SS.  An extremely tight battle for the podium resulted in milliseconds separating first through third. Madsen, in the Roush, came in first with a blazing fast 58.648, followed by the 06 Mustang with a 58.889, and finally the Stealth Bomber with a 58.925. Rounding out the field, the Camaro put down a 62.924 +1, and the other driver of the Roush with a 64.690. A bit more of a gap than last month’s rain event, which is to be expected. Unfortunately the CAM-C vs CAM-T battle was lost, with the fastest CAM-T car putting down a 58.579. Milliseconds of difference, but the score stands at CAM-C 1, CAM-T 2.

While this event was hard fought, third was disappointing. The plan is to verify alignment settings and focus on tire pressures for the next event.

1/10/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

The San Diego region of the SCCA started it’s 2016 season early, with the first event kicking off on the 10th of January. We headed out with the Stealth Bomber to see what times we could put down. The week before had been quite wet, so we were planning for a slip n’ slide at Qualcomm Stadium. We ended up with a dry course for our afternoon run group. The Bomber was set up in street configuration, running -1* camber and zero toe on the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 275/35/18 street tires mounted on our AVID.1 AV-06 18×9.5” wheels. The changes to the car since the December event were adding a little bit more anti-squat in the rear, utilising one bolt hole lower of our Steeda adjustable lower control arm brackets. Additionally, we swapped out the GT500 wheel for the MOMO MOD88 racing wheel.

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Our competition in CAM-C consisted of a 2015 Camaro SS Vert, a 2013 Camaro SS 1LE, a 2005 Mustang GT, and a 2002 Mustang GT. The course was complex, with a few off-camber transitions and a Costco-sized Chicago box at the end. After a very intense battle between us, the Camaro Vert, and the 2005 Mustang, we managed to put in a third place time of 66.648 seconds. The 2005 Mustang secured first with a 64.698, and the Camaro Vert stole second from our grasp with a 65.032. The rest of the field was seconds behind with times in the 67’s. In comparison, the CAM-T group had winning times in the high 63’s running on 200tw Bridgestone RE-71R’s.

The podium finish was hard-fought, but demonstrates that more work is needed for the 2016 season. All three podium finishers were not on the 200tw minimum that is standard for a competitive CAM-C car, with both the Stealth Bomber and the 2005 Mustang running treadwear in the 300 range. We hope to have a new tire setup locked in by this weekend, to bring the heat to CAM-C, as well as give the CAM-T group night tremors.

Beginning

When we first picked up up the Stealth Bomber in April of 2015, it was in a complete state of #becauseracecar. With a custom bolt-in cage, Corbeau race seats, MOMO suede wheel, Nitto NT-01”s, and 6-point harnesses; it wasn’t exactly a daily driver. We promptly entered the car in the next SCCA SOLO Championship event (a whole week later – we don”t waste time).

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Not knowing the setup of the car and having only driven at an autocross twice, we enlisted Brett from BTM-Autosport to co-drive and give us pointers on the setup. To put it simply, we dominated. As the first car out in the ESP class, we put down a blistering time, with Brett nudging us out of first place by 1.28 seconds – in our own car. We loved the way it drove, the car earned its Stealth Bomber nickname, and a racing addiction was born.

At the time of writing, the Bomber is a daily. Luckily the previous owner kept a collection of stock parts (filling an entire van when we picked up the car) which allowed the car to return to what we have dubbed #becausestealthracecar. The stock front seats went in, the cage came out, the harness unbuckled, and the stock wheel was reinstalled. Life with a S197 had just begun!